With World Plumbing Day fast approaching, the CIPHE is taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of scalding.

Scalding can result in long-term disability and disfigurement, while severe cases (which account for between 10 and 15 deaths each year) can be fatal. Apart from many years of surgery and hospital treatment, patients also endure a lifetime of scarring, prolonged psychological trauma and social alienation. Scalds can also have long-term repercussions for the families of victims and are very costly for the health service.

Kevin Wellman, chief executive officer of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE), is also on the executive board of the World Plumbing Council. He believes it is important to raise awareness of the dangers of scalding – something that can be easily prevented.

"Stored hot water needs to reach a relatively high temperature to kill off Legionella (60oc) but, according to HSE Document L8, at the point of delivery it should be 50oc. It’s worth noting that even this temperature can cause a partial thickness burn in about 90 seconds.

"These factors need to be taken into consideration by the designers and installers of those hot water systems to be used by vulnerable people such as children and the elderly. Water must be stored at a hot enough temperature to eliminate Legionella, yet be cool enough to prevent scalding, with point-of-use thermostatic mixing valves being one solution to the problem."

To find out more about World Plumbing Day, visit www.worldplumbingday.org.